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U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3146

Geologic Map of Saint Lawrence Island, Alaska

By William W. Patton, Jr., Frederic H. Wilson, and Theresa A. Taylor

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Saint Lawrence Island is located in the northern Bering Sea, 190 km southwest of the tip of the Seward Peninsula, Alaska, and 75 km southeast of the Chukotsk Peninsula, Russia (see index map, map sheet). It lies on a broad, shallow-water continental shelf that extends from western Alaska to northeastern Russia. The island is situated on a northwest-trending structural uplift exposing rocks as old as Paleozoic above sea level. The submerged shelf between the Seward Peninsula and Saint Lawrence Island is covered mainly with Cenozoic deposits (Dundo and Egiazarov, 1982). Northeast of the island, the shelf is underlain by a large structural depression, the Norton Basin, which contains as much as 6.5 km of Cenozoic strata (Grim and McManus, 1970; Fisher and others, 1982). Sparse test-well data indicate that the Cenozoic strata are underlain by Paleozoic and Proterozoic rocks, similar to those exposed on the Seward Peninsula (Turner and others, 1983).

Saint Lawrence Island is 160 km long in an east-west direction and from 15 km to 55 km wide in a north-south direction. The east end of the island consists largely of a wave-cut platform, which has been elevated as much as 30 m above sea level. Isolated upland areas composed largely of granitic plutons rise as much as 550 m above the wave-cut platform. The central part of the island is dominated by the Kookooligit Mountains, a large Quaternary shield volcano that extends over an area of 850 km2 and rises to an elevation of 630 m. The west end of the island is composed of the Poovoot Range, a group of barren, rubble-covered hills as high as 450 m that extend from Boxer Bay on the southwest coast to Taphook Mountain on the north coast. The Poovoot Range is flanked on the southeast by the Putgut Plateau, a nearly flat, lake-dotted plain that stands 30–60 m above sea level. The west end of the island is marked by uplands underlain by the Sevuokuk pluton (unit Kg), a long narrow granite body that extends from Gambell on the north to near Boxer Bay on the south. Headlands having rugged cliffs or narrow, boulder-strewn beaches characterize the southwest coastline.

The geologic map of Saint Lawrence Island was prepared from published and unpublished field investigations carried out between 1966 and 1971 by W.W. Patton, Jr., Belá Csejtey, Jr., T.P. Miller, J.T. Dutro, Jr., J.M. Hoare, and W.H. Condon (Patton and Csejtey, 1971, 1980) and data from Ormiston and Fehlmann (1969). Fossils collected during these investigations are reported in the Alaska Paleontological Database (, and mineral resource information is summarized in the online Alaska Resource Data File (Hudson, 1998).

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  • This report is available only on the Web.

For additional information contact:
Alaska Science Center staff
U.S. Geological Survey
4210 University Dr.
Anchorage, AK 99508
Alaska Mineral Resources
Alaska Science Center

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Suggested citation:

Patton, W.W., Jr., Wilson, F.H, and Taylor, T.A., 2011, Geologic map of Saint Lawrence Island, Alaska:  U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3146, scale 1:250,000 and database.

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